After the Huge Vikings Trade: 3 Most Realistic QB Draft Options

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings conducted a wild first week of free agency, culminating on Friday with a trade involving the Houston Texans.

After the Huge Vikings Trade: 3 Most Realistic QB Draft Options

This was the deal:

Vikings Receive:
No. 23
No. 232

Texans Receive:
No. 42
No. 188
2025 2nd-Round pick

Draft Analyst
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

All signs point to a quarterback for the Vikings as fruit of that trade, and these are the three most realistic options. They’re ranked in ascending order of likelihood.

3. Caleb Williams — with CHI

vikings trade
USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) during the pregame warmup before playing the Arizona State Sun Devils at Mountain America Stadium in Tempe on Sept. 23, 2023. © Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK.

It would be odd for the Chicago Bears to conduct dangerous business with the Vikings, but Minnesota’s general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, has already shown little hesitation in trading with division foes.

Acquiring the draft capital from Houston could signal an earth-shattering trade with the Bears, which would likely net Caleb Williams in purple. The price would be exorbitant, but if Minnesota loves Williams over the next two guys on the list, plus Jayden Daniels, perhaps the price is irrelevant.

Many believe Williams is a “sure thing” to succeed in the NFL. If Adofo-Mensah flipped three first-round picks to Ryan Poles in Chicago, Williams could become the Vikings’ plan for life after Kirk Cousins.

It’s a longshot, but after Adofo-Mensah’s trade with Houston, the highest of highs became possible in April’s draft.

2. Drake Maye — from NE

Rookie QB
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

The man many want as the Vikings’ next QB1, Maye is suddenly attainable via trade with the New England Patriots. The rumor mill has chirped in the last couple of weeks that the Patriots aren’t in love with Maye, which could shove him onto Minnesota’s depth chart.

New England has several roster holes to fill, and bartering with the Vikings could net Jerod Mayo’s team three 1st-Round picks. That may be too irresistible for a new Patriots leadership regime, particularly if it pulls off a low-risk trade with the Chicago Bears for Justin Fields, for example.

The Vikings’ trade with Houston on Friday made Maye fundamentally gettable.

1. J.J. McCarthy — from ARI or LAC

Vikings Mock Draft
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Iowa during the first half of the Big Ten championship game at Luca Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

McCarthy grabs the top slot here because he’d be the least expensive.

It’s rather apparent that Friday’s trade for the Vikings will have a second installment, and if Adofo-Mensah does business with the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 5, it could be as simple as sending the 11th and 23rd pick to Jim Harbaugh’s team for the fifth pick that could be used to draft McCarthy.

The Michigan product has gained enormous momentum in the last six weeks, so much so that he went from a 2nd-Round prospect to a 1st-Rounder since the College Football National Championship.

Williams and Maye — Maye, especially — are semi-realistic quarterback targets for Minnesota. McCarthy is absolutely gettable after the trade with Houston.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by